On St Patrick’s Day in Newcastle Upon Tyne, very’ normal’, unassuming individuals seems to take on a different persona. Every student in the city suddenly becomes an honorary Irishman or woman and most attempt to adopt the accent (quite badly too….). I have lived with a proud Irishman for two years now, so I know how important this day is to an Irish national. I am also well trained in stocking the fridge full of Guinness and potato bread.
St Patrick’s Day however isn’t just about how much green coloured Guinness you can drink. (Though I know this may come as a surprise to many.)
I thought this year instead of just merely explaining the history of St Patrick’s Day, I would tackle some of the common misconceptions surrounding this widely celebrated day.
St Patrick’s true name was Maewyn Succat and he was born in either Scotland or Roman England. He was kidnapped from Wales as a young man and sold into slavery in Ireland. During his captivity he turned to God and six years later he eventually escaped and returned to his family, where he became a cleric and eventually a bishop of the Christian faith. He returned to Ireland as a missionary for Christianity. Not much is known about his life, it is rumoured that entire kingdoms converted to Christianity influenced purely by his message. His death on March 17th 460 AD is the day we now call St Patrick’s Day.
It seems a commonly regarding opinion that St Patrick’s Day is for heavy drinking, however in Ireland St Patrick’s Day started as a religious festival and until the 1970’s the Irish government had ruled that no public house could open on March 17th. Traditionally it was a solemn time for Irish families to go to church.
In history there is no connection between St Patrick and the four leaf clover. St Patrick used the three leaf clover the demonstrate The Doctrine of the Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). The true Irish shamrock has always been represented by the three leaf clover.
No matter your nationality or beliefs, if you are celebrating St Patrick’s Day 2013, spare a thought for Maewyn, the 16 year old boy, who found comfort in his God in difficult times. And then enjoy your Guinness!
St Patrick and AC Silver
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|Irish Sterling Silver Teapot (W6120)|